Category Archives: Complex systems

Early-warning signals for Critical Transitions

Complex dynamical systems, ranging from ecosystems to financial markets and the climate, can have tipping points at which a sudden shift to a contrasting dynamical regime may occur. Although predicting such critical points before they are reached is extremely difficult, … Continue reading

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Ecological Systems as Complex Systems: Challenges for an Emerging Science

Complex systems science has contributed to our understanding of ecology in important areas such as food webs, patch dynamics and population fluctuations. This has been achieved through the use of simple measures that can capture the difference between order and … Continue reading

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Critical Transtions in Ecology

In complex systems the degree of homogeneity (vs. Heterogeneity) and connectivity (vs. Modularity) determines whether or not there is a phase transition from one state to another. These are called critical transitions, and there are current efforts to understand both … Continue reading

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Evolutionary Transitions: how do Levels of Complexity Emerge?

It is a common observation that complex systems have a nested or hierarchical structure: they consist of subsystems, which themselves consist of subsystems, and so on, until the simplest components we know,  elementary particles. It is also generally accepted that … Continue reading

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Panarchy: Discontinuities Reveal Similarities in the Dynamic System Structure of Ecological and Social Systems

In this paper, we review the empirical evidence of discontinuous distributions in complex systems within the context of panarchy theory and discuss the significance of discontinuities for understanding emergent properties such as resilience. Over specific spatial-temporal scale ranges, complex systems … Continue reading

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Complex Dynamical Systems Theory

Complexity is a systemic property. Whether in the physical or social realms, if individuals are independent or even weakly interdependent no complex physical or social structure will emerge; connectivity and interaction are necessary conditions for the emergence of complexity. The … Continue reading

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Critical Transitions in Nature and Society

How do we explain the remarkably abrupt changes that sometimes occur in nature and society–and can we predict why and when they happen? This book offers a comprehensive introduction to critical transitions in complex systems–the radical changes that happen at … Continue reading

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Understanding Phase Transitions for Social Change

The great challenges of the 21st Century are systemic in nature.  From ecological decline to cybersecurity in a digital age, the patterns of change we must grapple with are profoundly complex.  Change agents will need to understand how change unfolds … Continue reading

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